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Professional Research Assistant

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The CU Boulder Earth Systems Stable Isotope Laboratory (CUBES-SIL) seeks a highly motivated and organized individual to join as a Professional Research Assistant, the new manager of the facility, starting in Fall 2021/early 2022. CUBES-SIL is a collaborative teaching and research lab that trains the next generation of stable isotope scientists in both innovative analytical methods and standard methodologies of data reduction and reproducibility. The lab and this position is overseen by PI Dr. Katie Snell and co-PI Dr. Sebastian Kopf, and we welcome applications from individuals interested in becoming part of a vibrant community of interdisciplinary scientists whose projects span topics in geo(micro)biology, organic geochemistry, ecology, low temperature geochemistry, environmental biogeochemistry, astrobiology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, tectonics, and more.

This successful applicant will manage instrumentation and oversee light stable isotope analyses (CHNO) of the various sample types ranging from rock powders, to organic materials, lipid extracts, and headspace gases. Primary instrumentation includes three magnetic sector isotope ratio mass spectrometers for (1) high-precision dual inlet stable isotope analysis of multiply-substituted (“clumped”) isotopologues of CO2 derived from carbonates (Thermo 253+); (2) C,H,N, and O continuous flow stable isotope analysis (via Thermo Delta V) of solids and gases by headspace sampling (GasBench), on-line combustion (Thermo Flash EA) and high temperature conversion (Thermo TC/EA) elemental analysis; and (3) compound-specific stable isotope analyses of H, C, and N via gas chromatography coupled to online combustion/pyrolysis continuous flow IRMS (Thermo 253+ with GC Isolink II). In addition, the facility houses equipment for sample processing, preparation, and characterization including a GC-MS, GC-FID, as well as custom-made, on-line and off-line vacuum extraction systems for gases.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

The Department of Geological Sciences has been a key part of CU Boulder’s global reputation of excellence in geoscience education and research, evidenced by recent US News and World Report rankings of #1 for the best global universities for geosciences. The department has ~40 tenure track faculty members and instructors, ~15 research faculty members, 5 administrative and technical staff, ~70 graduate students, and ~250 undergraduate students. More can be learned about the Department at  

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Daily operation and maintenance of the IRMSs as well as associated equipment.
  • Training of internal and external analysts.
  • Sample preparation, measurement, and data reduction for internal and external users and oversight of lab assistants hired to assist with this work.
  • Laboratory oversight and organization, including the ordering, inventory, storage, and maintenance of laboratory supplies, and tracking and billing of projects. 
  • Primary analyses will include measurement of carbon, oxygen, and “clumped” isotopes in carbonates and CO2; bulk CHNO in a variety of materials, particularly sediment, water, and modern and fossil biologic materials; as well as compound-specific C and H analyses of fatty acids, alkanes, and alcohols.

What You Should Know

The preferred starting date is January 1, 2021 and is negotiable.

All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to comply with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.

What We Can Offer

The salary range is $45,000 - $65,000 depending on degree and experience.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be curious. Be innovative. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Bachelors degree in the natural sciences, engineering, or related fields. 
  • At least one year of demonstrated experience with the operation and maintenance of mass spectrometers and peripherals.

What You Will Need

  • Ability to train and supervise students, post-docs, and research staff in laboratory methods.
  • Either experience with or motivation to learn data reduction using R.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Masters or Ph.D. in the natural sciences, engineering, or related fields. 
  • More than two years of hands-on experience with the operation, maintenance, standardization of methods, and quality control protocols for stable isotope analysis.
  • Experience with “clumped” isotope geochemistry and/or compound-specific stable isotope analysis.
  • Experience with vacuum extraction lines.
  • Familiarity with at least one programming language (e.g. R, Python, MATLAB, C++). 

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Optional: Proof of Degree
    • If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. However, if your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version (if applicable) as an optional attachment.
During the application process you will need to enter contact information for 2 references who will be contacted to provide letters of recommendation as the search progresses.

Review of applications will begin on November 22, 2021; applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: